Felicity Taylor Eclectic Handmade

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Cakes, bread and frugal bits.

I keep leaving long gaps between posts-Sorry! I have a stack of photos which then seem too old!
I enjoy looking at all your other lovely blogs, and am loving the autumnal, knitted, wooly, themes.
Over at Attic 24 I love the autumn wreath selection, and it is a true antidote to the grey skies and looming storm.
I have done a bit of baking, no cakes for us (boo hoo) but for a cake sale, and some ultra lazy bread.
My fail safe cake recipe given by a friend.
8oz spreading  (buttery) marge,
8oz caster sugar,
Cream these together,
add 4 large eggs (beaten) gradually
plus 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence,
fold in 8oz of Self-raising flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
You can add some optional 2 tablespoons of cocoa too.
Divide equally between two greased 8'' cake tins. I use loose bottomed high rimmed ones that help the cake to rise (apparently).
I cook at gas mark 6 for about 25 mins, and test it by touching to see if it's springy to touch.

The brownie recipe was also given by a friend.
3½ oz butter
1½ oz cocoa
Melt butter and cocoa in a pan,
Mix in 7¾oz caster sugar (! I know)
2 beaten eggs,
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence,
Fold in 1¾ oz flour.
Put in an 8'' round or square tin and cook at
gas 4 for approx 30 minutes.

I had a go at the bread recipe in 'Cooking for real life' by Joanna Weinberg.
I get lots of cookery books out of the library, and a lot don't work for me at all (thank goodness for libraries!) This one seems to be fairly simple and I like the things I've tried so far.
I have always wanted to make sourdough, and have had the River Cottage bread book out numerous times. It made it seem rather daunting, although a friend swears by the the recipes.
I did however try it from this book with a very good result, i.e. it looked right and tasted good!
Having looked at lots of bread making information I am now hankering after a 'dutch oven' for cooking bread etc.
I cooked this loaf in a stellar saucepan and it worked well.
The recipe seems quite universal 
430g Strong White Flour,
¼ teaspoon fast action dried yeast,
1¼ teaspoons of salt.
345ml of water
Mix the dry ingredients then add the water.
Here's the lazy bit- oil a bowl and place the dough in it and leave for 12-18 hours.
Remove dough and fold it a few times, and rest for 15 mins or so.
I found it very wet at this stage, but I wanted to persevere with it!
Next I used a linen tea towel and put LOTS of flour on it ( you can use polenta) Put it in a bowl and put the dough in it. I floured the top of the dough and covered it with the tea towel.
Leave for 1-2 hours till doubled.
Meanwhile heat the oven gas 8 with the saucepan in it to get really hot, or you could heat up a baking tray.
I cooked it for about 40 mins with the lid on and a further 15 with lid off.
It stuck a little, so next time I'll use a little more flour in the saucepan before cooking.
Looking back at what I've written I am thinking it too looks complicated!
It was very easy despite all the writing, the only thing I needed to plan was what time to start the 12-18 hour bit so I could start the next bit in daylight hours! (hope that makes sense)
Now onto the frugal bit of the title. A little piccy of early fireworks at the house.

Fixing a rocker with a metal brace, may be good for a sledge too!


  1. The cakes look lovely. I think i might give your brownie recipe a try for our cub and school fundraiers. Thanks for sharing

  2. Ooo lovely cakes .. i just must'nt bake cakes .. I just eat them all ... and i am so trying to be good!

    I have been making soda bread for Hubby P (not buying any bread).. it seems to be much better for his digestion .. and so easy to make .. no waiting for it to rise an all that.

    Vicky x

  3. Yummy looking cakes! Reading the bread recipe, it sounds similar to the 'no-knead' one doing the rounds (and that I sometimes make) but you only leave that for 4 hours, I might try your version and see how they differ once cooked. Thanks for sharing :) Bethx


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